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Spousal Support
Money paid to your ex to maintain a standard of living they were used to during your marriage.
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Spousal Support, Spousal Maintenance and Alimony

Divorced woman holding envelope with alimony

In some instances, a wife will ask for alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance. Alimony is the court-ordered payment of money to your wife after the dissolution of marriage. If you made more money (especially if you were the primary breadwinner), there is a good chance your wife will seek alimony. The bigger the difference in earnings and the longer you were married, the larger the alimony payment will be. Check your specific state spousal support laws here.

Reducing Your Exposure to Spousal Maintenance

If the divorce is not going to occur for some time, the husband should consider the following actions to reduce his exposure to alimony:

  • reduce the current household expenses;
  • if the parties have separated, establish a precedent of the wife supporting her own needs with little or no financial support from the husband;
  • reduce debt;
  • help get the wife a job or more education;
  • maximize time with the children;
  • investigate marital misconduct;
  • don’t engage in marital misconduct;
  • allow a temporary disability to improve; and
  • if income is trending down, it would make sense in holding off the divorce to use a lower income in calculating spousal maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Spousal Support?

Alimony, or spousal support, is a payment from one spouse to another during divorce proceedings. It is intended to help assist a spouse who did not work during the marriage or earns less to provide for their financial needs. The lower-income spouse may request payments or be granted payments by a judge upon request during the divorce proceedings. State laws determine how alimony works and its requirements.

Will Spousal Maintenance Be Awarded?

The general standard in most locations holds that spousal maintenance can be awarded if the spouse lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to her to provide for her reasonable needs and expenses, and is unable to support herself through appropriate employment.

How Is Alimony Determined?

Generally, there are designated factors that the court has to consider in determining whether or not to order a party to pay alimony.

Courts usually consider the following when determining spousal maintenance or spousal support, though, of course, these vary by state so be sure to consult with a local, licensed attorney:

* length of the marriage;

* age and health of the parties;

division of property;

* education level of each party at the time of the marriage and at the time the action is commenced;

* earning capacity of the parties;

* feasibility that the party seeking alimony/maintenance can become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage and the time needed to achieve this goal;

* tax consequences to the parties;

* pre-marital and post-marital agreements;

* contribution of one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other;

* and any other facts as the court may determine to be relevant.

Once the court determines that a party is entitled to alimony, the court then determines how much the person should receive per month and how long he or she should receive it.

Related Article: How Is Alimony Determined?

How Much Alimony Will I Have to Pay?

Spousal support awards vary from state to state. In some states, the laws even vary from county to county and even sometimes among judges.

There is a high level of inconsistency in spousal support awards because most state statutes do not address specifically how the award should be calculated. In fact, in some jurisdictions it can be difficult to predict what the spousal support would be because there are no guidelines.

Related Article:How To Calculate Alimony

When Can I Stop Paying Alimony?

There are myriad other reasons that may terminate or reduce alimony, but the basic idea is that if there is no longer a need for support, then you can argue that it should be terminated. In general, support will likely stop upon the receiving party getting remarried, cohabitating with another individual in a marriage-like relationship or dies.

Related Article: How Do I Terminate My Alimony Payments?

Frank Murphy

Edited By Frank Murphy

Chief Compliance Officer
Frank Murphy

Frank Murphy is the Chief Compliance Officer and an Executive Partner at Cordell & Cordell. His responsibilities include oversight of the Firm’s compliance with Legal and Ethical obligations as well as contributing to the day-to-day operations of the Firm as an Executive Partner.

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Cordell & Cordell?

Men hire Cordell & Cordell because the firm’s entire focus is on aggressively championing the rights of men and fathers through divorce. Our attorneys understand how the deck is often stacked against guys in family law and are committed to leveling the playing field by providing the legal guidance and resources needed to give them a fair chance at success.